We’ve all been there. Whether you had to write a paper for school, a report for work or (if you’re like me) you inflict the hobby of writing upon yourself voluntarily, we have all had writer’s block. It isn’t pretty. It’s a little like being stuck in rush hour. You can still move forward but it’s slow going and oftentimes a lot of cursing is involved.
Back in late summer/early fall I was suffering from a pretty lousy case of it. I had started and then stopped two different Works in Progress and was unable to come up with the additional plot lines to turn my stand alone book Seer into a duology. My first book had been rejected by the first publishing company to show interest in it and I felt pretty bleak about my talents as a writer.
I know, I know. Someone out there is playing me a sad little tune on the world’s smallest violin.
It’s now late fall/early winter and the block is back. Luckily there’s no real deadline as I haven’t even gotten a publisher to agree to taking on my first book, let alone considering my second and third.
The long and short of it is that I was/am in a rough place. These steps helped me to snap myself out of that funk before and hopefully they will help me now:
- Take a break. All work and no play turns you into an axe murderer. Get up, get away from your desk/laptop/notebook and go outside. Go to the mall. Interact with new and interesting surroundings. Writer’s are observers by nature and if you feel you are out of ideas go and collect some more from the world around you.
- Do something else. If you’re anything like me then there is a long list of chores you frequently neglect. This is the time to do them. The universe has decreed that you clean, do laundry, and any other items of self care that you may have denied yourself while staring cross-eyed at the screen.
- Read. Swimmers swim, students study, and writers read. It is important to keep the muscle you are working with stimulated by new ideas. Or old ones if you’re like me and love to re-read old books while your To Be Read pile waits impatiently in the corner.
- Write. Write anything but the thing that’s giving you trouble. Try your hand at poetry. Create a nonsensical world where people walk on their hands. If you’re a blogger then write a couple of posts and save them for the weeks when you have no blog ideas (not going to say that I’m doing that now but I’m totally doing that right now).
- If all that fails, I’m going to ask that you take the nearest on-ramp to rush hour hell and just brute force your way through the traffic that is your cluttered, uncooperative mind. Sometimes you just have to fight your way through that jungle. You may end up with a thousand lousy words but if those words help you get to a place where writing is a little easier then that is the best news ever! You can always rewrite those thousand words at a later date.
The most important thing to remember is you can’t edit a blank page.
Happy writing and
Bye for now!